The narrowing of the gap between the traditional “full service” network airlines and low cost carriers continues as easyJet has today announced it is to launch its first frequent flyer programme “Flight Club” across Europe in 2016.
Details are scant at the moment, but at first glance it does not appear to be a traditional miles-accrual based programme.
Instead, Flight Club, offers a defined set of benefits based on eligibility criteria.
Passengers will be invited to join Flight Club based on a minimum number of easyJet flights taken in a 12 month period and/or minimum spend.
In return, passengers will receive benefits such as fee-free ticket & name changes, special offers and access to a dedicated contact team.
There’s no news of any other airline or hotel partners yet. This programme will also run in parallel to easyJet Plus.
easyJet held its “Innovation Day” today at Milan Malpensa airport.
The airline has outlined a series of innovations under consideration to improve the operating efficiency of the airline and improve the passenger experience.
These include the use of automated drones to perform visual inspections of aircraft (video below), the use of 3D printing to produce spare parts, virtual reality technology in cabin crew training, and (in partnership with Airbus) the use of real-time flight information to predict aircraft maintenance requirements.
Just as British Airways finishes retro-fitting extra rows of its seats to its much of its London Heathrow short-haul fleet, the quest for ever more dense seating configurations on short-haul flights in Europe continues.
easyJet has today announced that it is to add an extra row of seats to all of its Airbus A320 aircraft.
This will increase the number of seats from 180 to 186. It is understood that the amount of leg room will remain the same and the extra seats will be accommodated through reconfigured galley and toilet spaces. By way of a comparison, BA has 162 seats on an equivalent sized aircraft.
The new configuration will apply to deliveries of new aircraft from May 2016. It will be retrofitted to existing A320 aircraft from late 2016. The programme should be complete by 2018. In the interim, easyJet will continue to take delivery of new aircraft with 180 seats – it is due to receive 20 new Airbus A320s this year.
The Airbus A320 aircraft represents approximately one third (81 of 230 aircraft) of easyJet’s fleet, with the remainder being smaller Airbus A319 aircraft.
What is perhaps most noteworthy is what easyJet hasn’t done. The airline has introduced a number of measures to increase its appeal to business and premium leisure travellers by introducing allocated seating, flexible tickets and fast-track ground facilities. However, it has stopped short of introducing a fully dedicated business class cabin to compete directly with BA Club Europe and equivalent products from other European airlines – including fellow low cost airlines Vueling and Germanwings.
easyJet posted a good set of financial results last week solidifying its transition from an upstart low cost carrier to a mature pan-European short-haul airline.
The airline also announced a significant expansion at London Gatwick. This has been aided by its acquisition earlier this year of Flybe’s portfolio of slots at Gatwick which now gives easyJet nearly 50% of take off and landing slots at the airport.
New easyJet routes
In addition to recent route launches to cities such as Bergen and Moscow, next year easyJet will launch new routes to Brussels, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Jersey, Newcastle and Strasbourg. The airline will also increase frequencies by one flight a day on routes to Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Geneva, Inverness and the Isle of Man.